Anchor Porter | Anchor Brewing Company

1,536 Reviews
Anchor PorterAnchor Porter

Brewed by:
Anchor Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
With deep black color, a thick, creamy head, rich chocolate, toffee and coffee flavors, and full-bodied smoothness, Anchor PorterĀ® is the epitome of a handcrafted dark beer.

A blend of specially roasted pale, caramel, chocolate, and black malts, along with our top-fermenting yeast, creates complexity without bitterness. The brew is hopped at a high rate, and naturally carbonated. The result is dark in the glass, but surprisingly light on the palate.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2001

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Reviews: 1,536 | Ratings: 3,658
Photo of crayolahalls
1.27/5  rDev -69%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Everything was set for this to be an enjoyable experience. I was at a favorite pub, ordered awesome food, had good company, and was feeling alright.

This Anchor Porter was the first beer I ordered. I am not usually a fan of domestic porters, but I have found a couple I like. Upon initial inspection the bottling was fair. A squat dark bottle with bright label. Artwork was on par with any micro. It didn't look cheap or sloppy.

The bottle was served chilled. The glass was not. I poured out half the contents and watched a decent 3/8" tan head develop on a full pour.

The first sniff I took of this beer was awful. It reeked of Coca-Cola. I let the glass sit a few minutes longer to come up in temperature. The second smell was just as gooey. I was not impressed, actually I was starting to worry. I decided to taste this little porter.

After one solid swig I knew there was going to be problems. The taste was sweet, almost sickly for a porter. It was the right temperature, but it was failing to the level of Schlitz or Milwaukee's Best. True drivel. At $4.25 for the bottle I decided I should really push through and see what would happen.

The flavor developed much further on the second drink. Admittedly, I took a couple quick drinks at this point to try move to a more trusted brewer. One after another I was wholeheartedly disappointed. I was not getting any coffee, chocolate, vanilla, dirt, or even respectable bitterness. There was nothing redeeming to it. It was offense after offense of a bland beer that hearkened of a home-brew made from 10-year old liquid malt. It was two-dimensional beer horror.

I kept wondering if Anchor had created this porter just so they could say they have one. It tastes desperate. This truly was the little porter that couldn't.

In all fairness, I will probably try this beer again when I can verify the age of the batch and how it was handled post brewery.

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Photo of cb500rider
1.62/5  rDev -60.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

God! This is awful. I used to love Anchor Porter with its subtle, slightly sweet flavor. But it's changed. Picked up my first six-pack of Anchor Porter in about three years; what happened?! What used to be a nice, sweet porter has turned into a bottle of liquid smoke. Maybe my six was bottled during one of those well-known California brush fires, but I doubt it. Shame on you Anchor for changing one of the best Porters into something that tastes like a charcoal briquette. Now I'm stuck with the other five!!!

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
1.98/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.5

Update 9/10/16 : I'm editing this review as the last 3 six packs I've had of Anchor have been extremely hit or miss. Deny my claims if you will, but certain bottles taste off, metallic, or even infected. I cannot place a finger on it. Some taste like straight coffee, others like straight fig, and some just taste like old rotten fruit drizzled in chocolate. I have tons of stand-bys, none of them have had this swing in quality. So it's not just my taste buds. Sorry anchor, you've gone from my favorite porter, to one of my least favorites. I never know what I'm gonna get when I pop that cap. 3.15 overall, sunk from 4.39. The Overall score is reduced considerably because it's a mystery in that bottle.


I contacted Anchor, they confirmed it was an infected batch. Popped my last three in a row. Tasted each one. Sour, smoked, gross. My whole six pack went down the drain. Just disgusting and sour. They sent me a shirt, pin, bottle opener, and sew-on patch for my troubles. No check for free beer though. Anyways, I won't be revisiting this one, ever, and may only choose to buy their Old Foghorn from now on. Sorry Anchor. I'm glad you took care of me but you still lost a customer for the most part. Regardless, still better than some beers even when

This review is from a decent one I had awhile back :

The pour is magnificent in the tall pilsner glass. Dark chocolate brown with no light escaping; the head is gigantic taking up most of the glass and providing a beautiful chocolate-beige shade. Each "top off" looks like a science experiment as the head forms bulbous and almost overflows. I love it.

Aromas of hot cocoa mix, coconut, Christmas-like aromas of warm fire; porterhouse steak aromas, dates, chocolate-black licorice. I wish it were louder but this is quite amazing as is.

And the flavor brings it around full swing. Oh my goodness. It's very bitter - but let me explain. It's got lots of coffee, smoked meats, peppermint, hot chocolate, with a distinct hop bitterness that stays throughout the taste pulling up acidity from the coffee notes to accentuate the bitterness. This is not for the light hearted. It is, however, for porter lovers and I'm gladly part of that circle.

Feel is super creamy, with a mild dazzle of carbonation underneath to keep it pumped. The finish dries and leaves a coating on the tongue.

Overall, while it's a sipper, it's not limited to that. It drinks easy but to really enjoy it you'll want to sip this slowly, preferably in front of a fire or around good conversation with family and friends. (Compared to other porters : Black Butte is more sessionable and easier drinking with a lighter mouthfeel; Founders has more chocolate flavor and less bitterness but less dispersion of flavors across the whole tongue; Mudpuppy Porter is a malt lovers heaven and continues to be my favorite, but still does not hold a candle to the complexity represented here...)

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Photo of jsh420
2.16/5  rDev -47.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

pours deep brown with a 3 finger pillowy head. smell is very metalic and macro. taste is not even close to a porter this is just darker version of the steam beer. mouthfeel is the best thing that this beer has going for it - with a light crisp feel which i feel does not even come close to how this style should be. over all this one of the worst porters ever made. it would be an ok session beer for people looking for a bud ligt of porters

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Photo of BlacklightBrewin
2.3/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I'm rather suprised with the high votes on this one

Ok, I live in San Francisco and have had this porter a few times.
In my oppinion this beer is better the Butte but not better than Sierra Nevada's so i am suprised with the score given here.

If you like your porter 'dry' than you might like this one.

p.s. Anchor serves my favorite lager.

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Photo of EricCioe
2.34/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

One of six beers at a five person blind porter tasting including: Anchor Porter, Big Sky Bobo's Robust Porter, Deschutes Black Butte, Harvest Moon Pigs Ass Porter, Samuel Smith Taddy, and Sierra Nevada Porter. All of these are shelf beers in Montana.

This was the best looking beer of the bunch, very dark brown with a rich looking head. On the nose the dominant notes were vanilla, overall malt sweetness, and something like prunes, though they were all faint. In the mouth those same flavors stood out more and it was overall an unpleasant experience. Where is the roast and chocolate? The body is thin with a slightly sour note like Guinness Extra Stout, with something like vinegar creeping in, too.

Overall, everyone was disappointed with this one. It was the consensus 5th out of 6 pick. I had never had it before and I was expecting a great deal more from Anchor.

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Photo of Brunite
2.43/5  rDev -40.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Very dark...almost opaque. Nice tan head leaving good lacing.

S: Faint vanilla. Sweetness.

T: Much sweeter than I'd expect from a porter. Mellow in flavor. No bitterness, roasted notes, or tang that I would expect....just a light sweetness.

M: Smooth...creamy. Dry on the finish.

D: This just struck me as too sweet and one dimensional. Nothing special at all.

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Photo of nsmartell
2.55/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. Poured from a bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a really nice dark color with a thick creamy tan head. This is a fantastic looking beer.

Smell: OK aroma. Can smell a slight hint of chocolate, but also smells bitter.

Taste: Again, just OK. Not exceptional, but still tasty. The sourness is noticeable and a little bit too bitter for what I am looking for in a porter.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick. Good mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Not my favorite porter. I don't consider this a session beer for me. However, based on the label this beer was brewed about 9 months before I drank it. I won't hold that against it and will definitely try it again.

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Photo of Marraybay
2.56/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Represents the style of a dry, bitter porter well. (Just not my cup of tea personally .) Must compliment the head on this beer however; Most impressive: lacing decent as well. Absolutely no sweetness/choco for me in this one, although others have experienced those notes.

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Photo of twi1609372
2.65/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

i know i will be the only "bad" review for this beer but i just didnt like it. looks nice, semlls nice, but i cant agree witht he taste. thick, but thick isnt always bad. just a bit too strong for my taste, maybe, but i like other dark beers, i am just unable to reconcile this taste as good in my mind.

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Photo of Squelch
2.66/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer is a bit of an enigma for me. I started drinking it and was turned off by what I felt, at the time, was an overuse of roasted or chocolate malt and a strange paring of hops with this particular strain of yeast flavor. I sat the beer down for a few minutes, had a chocolate bar and my perception of the beer completly changed. This beer pairs so perfectly with dark chocolate. The sweetness is subdued by the prevalent bittersweet chocolate. Here's my review:

A: Pours black with a creamy foamy root beer float head. Looks very appetizing when sitting in a glass

S: Smells of roasted malts and a hint of hop aroma dominate the nose. Fruity esters also come through.

T: The type of hops paired with this beer didn't fit with the esters and flavors from the yeast strain used. Not my favorite porter by far.

M: Average mouthfeel for style

D: Drinkable beer. Probably wouldn't buy it again though.

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Photo of kernalklink
2.68/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This brew poured a crystal clear black- nice clean aromas; fruity malts, some burnt chocolate and a hint of alcohol. For me the taste as way too bitterl, even for an american porter. The mouthfeel was not very smooth, i felt a dry caustic bitterness through the entire bottle. There was no real roasted malt presence either, flavor was fleeting and unsatisfying. I can see how people loved this brew 20 something years ago when others were not available or as interesting, but now with so many more possibilities, im leaving this one on the shelf.

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Photo of hophopandaway
2.7/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I was really disapointed by this beer. Had it on tap at the anchor brewery.

Look is a bit on the thin side, not the opaque colour I expect from a porter and almost see through. Kept it's head okay and some lacing.

Smells okay with a bit of coffee and molases, but no dark fruit.

Taste is pretty one-dimensional with a hint of coffee and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is the most dissapointing bit about this beer, it felt almost like drinking fizzy water and I'm not a uge fan of carbonation in porters and stouts,

Slips down okay but I think this is a pretty poor example of the style. I won't be buying this again.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
2.8/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Actually, it looks about like what a porter should look like. Pitch black head. Off white head. Thick and frothy head.

Doesn't smell great. Weak and soapy.

Taste was, um different? Cheap blush wine, possibly bad merlot. I don't feel malt at all. Odd. Light like wine.

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Photo of Brad007
2.81/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer pours a dark color with almost no transparency. The aroma has hints of coffee and alcohol. Taste is about the same with the alcohol showing through more than the actual taste of the beer. Still some hints of coffee left but something tells me that this beer just isn't the way it was meant to be sampled. Must be from sitting on a store shelf for so long. Still a decent, drinkable porter if you can get past the alcohol taste.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.84/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Pours black with a light tan head. Aroma of raisins. Flavor of raisins, molasses, chocolate. This is a raisiny beer. I'm not getting this beer, but it might be old...but for now I'm not a fan.
Aroma: 5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 12/20

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Photo of midwestbrewers
2.85/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: Very dark with a small 1/2 finger head. Not much lacing but beautifully dark.

S: This is a porter so there is immediately the roasted smell. Hints of toffee and maybe a little chocolate and caramel. Slightly hoppy as well.

T: (Drum roll) Lets first start by saying that each week I pick 6 new beers to try at the local liquor store. I picked this 1 up because I particularly liked the Anchor Steam. I am deeply saddened by the taste of this beer. To me this it is thin and watery. I've had winter warmers with more body. Nothing sticks out about the taste to me at all. A slightly smoky finish. The one up-side is that it is very smooth.

Overall I am very disappointed in this beer. After seeing the reviews I was rather excited. The smell, look, and drinkability are there but it lacks a taste. Glad I tried it but for sure a one time thing. Great beer Anchor Brewing.

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Photo of Overlord
2.88/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is going to be one of those rare occasions that I am simply completely out of step with the beeradvocate zeitgeist.

Pours a darkish brown with a nice dark tan head. Good looking beer, I'll give it that.

Even smells okay, with some roasted malt, some coffee, and a nice earthy smell to it. Once I actually began to drink it, however, the train came off the tracks.

There is a terrible acrid bitterness that cuts through the coffee/chocolate/roasted malt background. I have no idea what it is. Some blend of hops, something burnt, I just don't know. It overpowers the beer and is utterly unpleasant. Basically, the beer tastes like burnt molasses with an incredibly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery. I have five more of these to get through. Ugh.

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Photo of sstackho
2.88/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. No freshdate date - just a cryptic code. Pours a very dark brown. Little carobnation visible and very little lacing. Faint aroma of malt. Nice taste of roasted malts, although I don't taste much in the way of the advertised hops. There is a decent amount of aftertaste, but it becomes slightly funky. Decent porter.

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Photo of TheBigBoy
2.94/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Just so many porters out there that I like much more, if u like the standard dry taste & feel of Anchor Steam, the this porter may be right up your alley.

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Photo of jpkoch1962
2.95/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle- served at 40 deg F. Poured a deep black. Put up against light, and could barely see any light penetration- prehaps some deep maroon hues. Brown, complex head that collapsed within minutes leaving little lacing. Under carbonated a bit. Aroma was dominated by roasted and choclate malts. Very little if any hop aroma. Maybe some Northern Brewer Hops- couldn't tell.

The front end of this Porter was dominated by roasted malts, as well as a mixture of coffee, toffee, and choclate. The mouth feel was full with plenty of alcohol warmth. . Roasted malts dominated the middle, and the finish was a bit cloying. If there were any hops to balance this porter out, I couldn't tell. A strong aftertaste of roasted coffee lingered.

Anchor Porter is closer to a more complex Sweet Stout than a Porter. Porters should be a complex assortments of specialty malts and copius amounts of hops to balance out the heavy malt bill. Hops bitterness and aroma were lacking in this ale. The cloying malt aftertaste also subtracted from the drinkability. Disappointing Porter all around.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
2.96/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed 9/26/2007 (bottle):

Pours a dark black-brown colored body, with a big light brown head. Good lacing. Dark heavy aroma, with chocolate and some alcohol. Chocolately roasted taste, and some alcohol. Soft mouthfeel, fizzy. Somewhat acidic with meat pizza. An okay porter.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.96/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A classic porter by many. Nearly black with ruby amber at the edges. A vigorous pour forms a peaking, light tan head atop medium sized bubbles, leaving nice rings of lace. Moderate carbonation. Aroma is sweet vanilla extract, chocolate malt, and some coffee, akin to Mackeson's XXX Milk Stout in aroma but tasting completely different. Faint aroma of earthy hops. Medium body with chewy mouthfeel. This porter varies from others in that it has a consistent blackstrap molasses taste to it. Taste starts with some heavily roasted malts, gives way to a metallic tinge, a moderate isopropyl alcohol bite, a subtle licorice note, and ending in a dark molasses/slightly astringent load of burnt black patent malt with a nicely balanced bittering hop finish. The finish is usually dry, ruddy and tinged by a homebrew alcohol twang.

Judged to be a classic by many, this beer really doesn't do much for me. Between the homebrew twang, the alcohol bite, metallic and fusel alcohol notes, it leaves me with a sick taste in my mouth. It would be exceptionally rare for me to drink more than one of these, as there are much better porters readily available.

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Photo of TheTrevor
2.98/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer poured a very dark brown with a big fluffy three-finger tan head. The smell is a very malty with just a little bit of coffee. The taste is mostly of malt that starts off sweet and ends with a little bitterness. There is also some coffee. The beer has a nice thick mouthfeel but sits a little heavy and I don't think I'd have more than one at a time.

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Photo of tewaris
2.98/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Distinctive 12 oz. bottle with no mention of bottled/best by date or ABV. Poured into a snifter.

Pours dark brown, looks black in the glass. Good brown head forms; medium retention and medium lacing. Aroma is very very fruity... it'd have been hard to tell that it's a porter based on the aroma alone... not enough "darkness" in it so to speak, at least at the first impression. That said, quite delicious with plenty of sweet, baked notes. Toffee most certainly.

A little rough taste with lots of edges with fruitiness up there and sweetness following closely. Medium roast at the back keeping the finish clean and slightly charred. Mouthfeel? Creamy enough although carbonation could be a tad lower. Overall? A good option when you're stuck in beer wasteland but that's about it.

4, 3.5, 2, 4, 3.5

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Anchor Porter from Anchor Brewing Company
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,658 ratings.
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